It is a cliche that you will probably hear quite a few times between now and the end of the season but we are truly getting down to the business end of the season. After two woeful performances saw us drop in the league and make automatic promotion less likely, we have some vital games coming up including four huge home games.
The first home game is the Tuesday night game against Reading. In this fixture last season, Villa were beaten by an impressive Reading side however, a lot has changed since then.
In the reverse fixture, this season at the Madejski a late goal from Conor Hourihane was too little too late and the Royals beat Bruce’s men 2-1. Since then Reading have been very underwhelming which has resulted in manager Jaap Stam being sacked. Villa will be looking for a home win in this fixture especially after an international break that has allowed us to recuperate and solve any niggling issues currently affecting the squad.
The second of our remaining home games is arguably the most important of the season as Neil Warnock brings his Cardiff City side to Villa Park. The Bluebirds gave us a 3-0 thumping earlier in the season in what was one of our worst performances of the season. Warnock’s side is comfortably sat in the automatic spot at the moment and will be looking to solidify this position.
A win for Villa here could pile the pressure on Cardiff while giving both Villa and Fulham a glimmer of hope of still pinching an automatic promotion spot.
The penultimate home game is yet another tricky fixture, step up Leeds United. Although Leeds have been awful this season and only find themselves in mid-table, we shouldn’t underestimate Paul Heckingbottom’s side.
They have majorly underperformed this season but still have the players who can cause damage. Pontus Jansson loves a goal against the Villa and Samuel Saiz is a great midfielder who has the ability to cause any team big problems. We could be seeing the return of Jonathon Kodjia by this point, which would be a huge boost for Bruce’s men.
Our final home game of the season is against Gary Rowett’s Derby County. Although they have dropped off lately, Derby is one of the best-attacking sides in the league and we should not take them lightly. With big threats such as former Villan Andreas Weimann, they could come to Villa Park and decide our fate.
Realistically if we stand any chance of promotion then we need to win every single one of these games. We can do it, but it will be very difficult. Do you think we can still get promoted, or have we lost our chance?